Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep. The National Institutes of Health states we should get 7 1/2 in the summer and 9 ½ hours of sleep in the winter. For some days this is unrealistic, but if you can create a ‘cave like’ environment, you will sleep deeper. Be sure it is pitch black in your room as any light on the skin disrupts deep sleep. Also try to keep the temperatures cooler in the summer and winter so that your head is kept cool even if your body has blankets over it. This will ensure a deeper sleep and is key to our physiological and psychological health.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dawn Cutillo.
Dawn is the owner of a successful holistic health center outside of Philadelphia called BeBalanced Hormone Weight Loss Centers, now being franchised with 25 locations and 18 more in the works. Her unique protocol of “natural hormone balancing” aids women with stubborn weight as well as PMS and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, etc.Ms. Cutillo has been in the health field for over 30 years and has worked under specialized hormone researchers and a chemist to produce supplements and protocols for natural hormone balance.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Mystory starts with an intense desire to help people get healthier in a holistic way. Initially, that was with diet and exercise but eventually turned into stress management, detoxification, and hormone health. I found that these were key factors that were missing from most traditional diet and exercise programs. I ended up being more of a ‘wounded healer’ in that I was dealing with common issues myself that affected my weight, skin, and cycle. I worked to correct these imbalances by seeking answers for myself which then I was able to develop a protocol to help thousands of other women.
Back when I was in school there wasn’t specific studies on alternative medicine for holistic health so I had to get a traditional Bachelor of Science and health and nutrition and then at wanted to ad other courses, interviewing other scientists and doing more research to come to my conclusion. I am happy I did this because it turned out to flourish into not only my own business but a business that could that be franchised to help many more people.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I think one of the more interesting things was learning about breast cancer and how it can be prevented. My former partner had said to me once, “I know what breast cancer looks like on paper.” He had seen so many saliva hormone tests of women with breast cancer that he knew instantly the type of sex hormone profile they had when breast cancer was present. I was determined that we should do a small pilot study on this to show that women with breast cancer has specific hormone profiles. As we suspected they were very progesterone deficient and had a severe imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. I had a friend at West Chester University who ran the research department and they tabulated the study to make sure that everything was done correctly. Later it was published in the Original Internist, a magazine that goes to about 8,000 doctors. What I took away from this experiment was that out there if we’re willing to look. There’s always an underlying reason for the beginning of a disease and stress is usually part of that are the study now can be used for women who are getting preventative double mastectomy is because they fear breast cancer. If they can see that through hormone profiles do not look like the ones from our study (women who had breast cancer), this can give them hope and perhaps just watch their breast tissue over the years before removing it all in the fear of getting cancer.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t view mistakes technically as mistakes because they all help us learn and get where we are today. I probably made a little million little mistakes but no large one jumps out to share here. I always feel like I’ve learned from my mistakes and looking back I always saw that things happen for a reason. So if you think you made a mistake, don’t regret it, please know that if you wait you will learn a lesson and this will be a specific part of your path that was important for you to grow and get to where you are going.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I had a mentor who was the woman I continue to look up to. She has a double PhD and it’s been a psychologist for 60 years. She is now in her 80s. She wrote the forward to my book, The Hormone Shift. She always encouraged me without judgment. She also helped me see that what I was doing for a living, my occupation, was part of the bigger spiritual plan for me and because that was the case I would succeed. Due to this, the Universe was there to support me. I’m lucky enough to have my occupation be “who I am” and I know everyone does not have that luxury. I am thankful and humbled by this. I would encourage everyone to find some sort of passion in what they do even if it’s just the ‘helping others’ aspect of whatever job they may have. It’s the fulfillment of that passion that brings overall satisfaction at the end of the day. If someone cannot make a living at their passion, they should still have an outlet for that because it is still their gift to the world.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I developed a protocol called natural hormone balancing. This is not traditional HRT, hormone replacement therapy, nor is it bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, which is becoming more popular in the last 10 years. This is the way of balancing the larger hormones in the body, insulin and cortisol, so that the sex hormones stay balanced. Keeping estrogen and progesterone balanced and avoiding estrogen dominance, is key for a woman to avoid PMS/menopausal symptoms as well as weight gain as she ages. This is done through education, supplementation and lifestyle change (diet/relaxation therapy) with support. Most women come to us to lose weight but are pleasantly surprised at the side effects of improved mood, sleep and diminishing or elimination of all PMS in menopausal symptoms. This is what makes us unique and why we are growing.
There are many women that are above 35 that cannot lose weight through traditional diet and exercise even when they follow plans to a T. BeBalanced is there for these women and specializes in balancing hormones naturally so the woman can lose a minimum of 15 pounds a month. A simple hormone assessment at our website BeBalancecenters.com helps a woman know if her hormones are keeping her from living her highest quality of life. Then we offer free consultation. BeBalanced wants to be a place in the environment where women can come to get their questions answered in a complete, concise and caring way.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
1. Drink hot/warm lemon water first thing in the morning before anything else because it will clean the liver, helping to detoxify as well as help to alkalize the body.
2. Take care of your gut. Foods that give you gas and bloating should be eliminated and a dairy-free probiotic of a mixed strain should be taken a few times a week. If you are on strong medication or the birth control pill, a probiotic will probably be needed daily.
3. Make sure you move a little bit every day, preferably nonlinear moves. We tend to sit and stand, walk and run in a linear fashion. The body needs twisting and turning to keep us limber and keep our digestive organs stimulated. Things like yoga or dance are non-linear ways to keep strong, flexible and limber as we age!
4. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep. The National Institutes of Health states we should get 7 1/2 in the summer and 9 ½ hours of sleep in the winter. For some days this is unrealistic, but if you can create a ‘cave like’ environment, you will sleep deeper. Be sure it is pitch black in your room as any light on the skin disrupts deep sleep. Also try to keep the temperatures cooler in the summer and winter so that your head is kept cool even if your body has blankets over it. This will ensure a deeper sleep and is key to our physiological and psychological health.
5. Work on the stress response. High cortisol will steal progesterone causing women to be “estrogen dominant”, which is connected to not only weight gain but all PMS/ menopausal symptoms. Keeping stress low by doing a relaxation technique every day as well as increasing natural progesterone levels with a plant-based progesterone cream.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I think we are starting a movement: “A national move to Be Balanced.” Women everywhere are wanting to be more Zen and balanced and to get to the underlying issues of their symptoms. Women want and deserve to look and feel their best at any age and that is what BeBalanced is providing. We have what it takes to be a Lifestyle brand and that is what we are becoming. We can help dramatically increase the quality of a woman’s life through quickly, naturally and safely balancing her hormones. Hormones affect all physiological and psychological parts of a woman. When we change this aspect of a women it creates a butterfly effect in her mind & body and this spreads to her family and then the community….then to the world. We want to have a butterfly effect with the work that we do. I believe that is part of the defining aspect of a movement!
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Any idea that comes into your head that is striking is usually for a reason. Do not discount it, entertain it and flush it out and see where it leads.
- Listen to your gut. If some sort of business decision does not feel good in your gut this is your intuition telling you to take a step back and look at it further. This is the mind listening to the body and the gut is now known as the second brain.
- What are the most difficult things to deal with is business-to-business or vendor relationships not necessarily problems with clients. It is always important to double-check bills and contracts. If you don’t feel totally comfortable with something it is never wrong to question because usually there is something there worth questioning
- There is enough for everyone. Don’t have a “limited pie” view of your industry or this will cause you to feel they will never be enough clients were money for everyone. Instead focus on being positive and on improving your skills and services is much better than always looking over your shoulder at the competition and trying to compete.
- Set goals of what you would want but also take time every day to see and feel those goals with your deepest emotion. If you want to see yourself having five of your local businesses in a certain state, visualize that but also feel how you would feel if that happened. This brings the energy and the Universe in alignment with your intent and is extremely powerful at helping you achieve your goals. Being specific in your goals is important but feeling the emotion of the end result is even more important.
A side note — A good thing someone DID tell me that rang true was, “Be the best at what you can do and the money will come.” I believe this is true even if you’re forging your own path with a somewhat new classification of business or service. In this case there’s even less competition and if you can prove yourself and use science and logic to back what you do with good marketing, people will be drawn to your idea.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
I would say mental health is always been an area of interest for me because a very good and longtime friend of mine dealt with depression and would be considered bipolar. Now there are so many more suicides connected with mental illness that something needs to be done to find the root cause. I believe that I work with balancing hormones can dramatically help balance neurochemicals, getting to the root cause of anxiety and depression. It is always important to note underlying emotional issues that can cause these conditions but they’re still always a physiological component that needs to be addressed. If someone is sensitive and more prone to these issues, they need to take care of the blood sugar and balance and their stress levels to prevent bouts of depression or anxiety.
Each day is a gift, and feeling our best mentally is just as important as feeling our best physically! Hormones bridge this gap, so there needs to be much education on this topic. BeBalanced is out there trying to educate one woman at a time!
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